Small farm, big city

A small farm in the country’s largest city has gotten a new lease on life.

Toronto media are reporting a new deal that will keep Riverdale Farm open to the public. It’s a farm and interpretive centre that’s been a long-time draw for young families in Toronto and its future was unclear in light of planned budget cuts that would have slashed more than $400,000 annually from the organization’s operating budget.

At the same time the city’s budget managers are urging a citizens’ group, Riverdale Farm Coalition, to raise funds to lessen reliance on city dollars to keep the operation open.

Toronto mayor Rob Ford said the move reflects public support for the concept of farm interpretive centres in the city, but cautioned that they won’t be able to rely on the municipal gravy train forever.

“I enjoy taking my kids there so I know what it means to Toronto,” Ford told the Toronto Sun newspaper. “I’m the last person who wants these to shut down, I want these farms to succeed but obviously everybody has to help out.”

Also on the chopping block were High Park Zoo and Far Enough Farm. Riverdale Farm Coalition spokesperson Anne Pastuszak said the group is confident they can raise funds to help reduce the farm’s need for civic funds, the Sun reported

Pastuszak to the newspaper "there is incredible support" for Riverdale Farm, but without the guarantee of stable city funding they can’t get people to the table.

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